Dr. Norman R. Smith
Interim President, Suffolk University
Suffolk University Interim President Norman R. Smith is a higher education leader who has served as chief executive of colleges and universities in the United States and abroad for nearly 30 years.
He is president emeritus of Wagner College in New York City and, as a member of the Registry for College and University Presidents, arrives at Suffolk University after serving as the interim president of Dowling College on Long Island, New York.
Dr. Smith was the founding chancellor of Alamein University, an American international university in Egypt that was under construction on the Mediterranean west of Alexandria but which was not completed in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolution.
He was president of Richmond The American International University in London, a residential university with campuses in Richmond-upon-Thames, Central London, Rome, and Florence.
As president of Wagner College, Dr. Smith oversaw 14 consecutive years of fiscal balance and doubled the institution’s enrollment to capacity. His efforts resulted in Wagner’s being named a TIME magazine College of the Year due to its innovative first-year experiential liberal arts curriculum. The Princeton Review cited Wagner as having the best musical theater major and the most beautiful college campus in America. And Dr. Smith’s presidency marked Wagner’s most successful fund-raising era. During Dr. Smith’s presidency, Wagner rose to the top tier of comprehensive colleges and universities in the northeastern United States in the U.S. World and News Report “Best Colleges” rankings.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Smith was the assistant dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Later he served the John F. Kennedy School of Government in the same role, becoming part of the inaugural administration for that institution. He also held leadership positions at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, Philadelphia University, and Drexel University.
He earned his doctor of education at Harvard and was a research fellow of the Harvard Philosophy of Education Center. He earned his BS and MBA from Drexel.
Drexel University cited Dr. Smith as one of its 100 most distinguished alumni, and New York University has awarded him its presidential medal for excellence in higher education leadership.
His publications include Selecting the Right College and TOP TIER: The Wagner College Turnaround Years, which was cited by the Council of Independent Colleges as a Book of Note for college presidents and academic leaders. His most recent book, What College Trustees Need to Know, was co-authored with George J. Matthews, chairman emeritus of Northeastern University, and Bryan Carlson, president of the Registry for College & University Presidents.
Smith has served on numerous boards, including the Executive Committee of the New York Council of Independent Colleges and Universities. He was a director of the former Dime Savings Bank in New York City. In 2007, he hosted the Presidential and Provost Summit of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities, held in London.